Health & Fitness Interviews/Features Men

Sledge Hammer! Q and A With MMA Fighter and Surgery Survivor, Nathaniel Hampton

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Foreword By Victoria Hampton

On January 3rd, 2011 Nathaniel R. Hampton began chasing his dream of someday retiring 20 years from the military in Spec Ops and also soon began fighting as a MMA fighter. Unfortunately, on March 15th, 2015, his lifelong dream of being in the military career and competitive MMA fighting crumbled when he went in for an emergency surgery.


That emergency surgery ended up being 3 major surgical errors, leaving Nathaniel behind with numerous medical issues that will forever impact his life. Nathaniel ended up losing over 3/4 of his intestines and in the process was pronounced dead twice due to the hospital’s medical error on not having a backup blood supply.

Despite now having reoccurring liver and kidney shutdowns, heart arrhythmia episodes, hormonal imbalances, an inability to absorb nutritional needs, and many other ongoing medical battles, Mr. Hampton continues to look ahead and now dreams to compete in bodybuilding while obtaining a medical degree to prevent future medical errors like his case.

Nathaniel’s case is a rather unique mishap and a nightmare that most people will never have to face. His story inspires many whom have went through devastating situations and now look for hope. It’s Nathaniel’s goal to let those who have lost hope that even when life literally knocks you down you find a way to get back up and fight.

The word survivor gets thrown around a lot very loosely, but if there is a real-life embodiment of it, it is this 25-year-old wise-cracking Conor McGregor loving guy from Burbank. While some don’t think medical malpractice is not uncommon, it is actually more prevalent than you think sometimes. To see how he looked in 2015 to the present following the surgical errors is simply mind-boggling,and should be used by all who have had a setback in working out, loss of a job or just in life in general.

If you are looking to get back in shape, and need some REAL inspiration, look no further that the kid called Sledge Hammer. Below is my Q and A with Nathaniel as we talk about how and what happened, how he has recovered from the surgical mishaps, how to stay motivated and the best way to keep it loose when working out this fall.

 

Name: Nathaniel Hampton

Age: 25

Height: 5’9

Weight: 205 lbs

Birthplace: Burbank, California

Measurements:

Chest: 47″

Bicep: 17.5″

Waist: 32″

Quad: 25.5

Forearms: 15″

Neck: 17.5″

Calves: 16’

Social Media Links: Facebook: @nathampton9  | Instagram: @sledgehampton

Photo:” William Sparkes/Sparkan Media

Tell us all a little bit about yourself? I grew up in Southern California and I’ve always enjoyed exercising. Right after high school I joined the Air Force and I was first stationed in England. While I was out there I developed a real passion for fitness, and I realized that martial arts really challenged me more than any other type of fitness so I really began to love practicing MMA. Just a few months after I started training I had my first two PPV fights, and I didn’t do terribly haha.

After that I was restationed to New Mexico.

And I got more into bodybuilding. But before I had a chance to compete for the first time I was hospitalized for a really common intestinal surgery but it went wrong, really wrong. They had to do 3 more additional emergency surgeries the next week, and each surgery made things worse, and I was put into a coma from blood loss. Pretty much every major organ in my body failed. But I survived, mostly due to the fact that I always stayed in shape. The doctors told me I would never be able to get into body building, powerlifting or fighting again. But since that’s what they said I can’t do, that’s what I’ve set out to do. I guess I’m a little hard headed hehe.

But I think I haven’t done all too bad so far, but only time can tell.

For those who don’t know about you, describe how you’ve come back after a series of botched surgeries to where you’re at now? For me it was constantly researching all the conditions I have and finding out what can help me recover faster. So the past couple years has been a whole lot of trial and error and what works.

Photo: Dibs McCallum

So…about that McGregor fight? Thoughts on the match and did it help or hurt MMA as a sport? I actually enjoyed watching it, I think it was pretty exciting the whole fight. I personally think I helped MMA, in a way it shows some of the more popular guys aren’t really a one trick pony. It shows they might not be great at everything but they can still be pretty good at everything.

Thoughts on the GGG-Canelo “draw”. Do you think it gave boxing another black eye? I do, don’t get me wrong I love Canelo but I don’t think most people agree it should have been a draw. I think it can hurt the popularity of boxing, but not by much, boxing is way too big of a sport for just a couple fights to hurt it bad.

What do you think is the secret to the rise of MMA and the gradual decline of boxing? I believe it’s because boxing is one of the more important aspects of MMA. Along with any form of grappling/wrestling. So you still have boxing in MMA, so fans of every type of martial arts can still watch and understand MMA. And there’s plenty of MMA fighters that mainly specialize in boxing and they do great!

Photo: Dibs McCallum

From one brother to another, what’s the best thing about being a male fitness model? Honestly, I get to spend more time with my wife (Victoria Tignor) this way because we’re either at my shoots or her shoots. Our tradition is to eat everything we can after the shoot(s) wrap up!

Biceps, triceps, quads, pecs? What is the one area that guys should concentrate on the most if they want to get fit and toned? That’s a tough one. I personally think both legs and core. There are so many other areas of the body that will get stronger from just having a good base to work with. If that makes sense.

What are your thoughts on the negative stereotypes that male fitness models such as you get for using steroids, HGH, etc? I think the two biggest one right now is the whole “fake natty” thing. A lot of fitness models set newer gym goers up for failure by letting them believe they can look like Arnold Schwarzenegger overnight. And that makes a lot of people feel worse about themselves for not looking “extreme” and they end up giving up. I really don’t like that.

The Rock, Arnold, Stallone? Who got if you had to five minutes to hang out with them and chop it up with? Ah man! Can I hang with all of them!? Haha I would have to say The Rock! He was my favorite wrestler growing up. But the guy is just killing it at everything… and he’s jacked! That is a guy that I would not mind being like.

Photographer: Paul Neff

What first inspired you to become a fitness model and personal trainer? Being in shape has helped tremendously with surviving the surgical errors and it’s continuing to help with the healing process I’m still currently going through. I remember wanting to give up every day because I didn’t have anyone to push me, and I don’t want that to happen to anybody.

Describe your daily workout routine? I usually go to work, when I come home I will have my first dinner, take a nap till my wife, Victoria Hampton, comes home, then we go hit the gym together.

Cardio or pumping iron, which works best for you and why? For me pumping iron. My metabolism is much too fast to hang onto muscle with cardio haha.

Photographer: Paul Neff

What is your workout and fitness secret to staying in shape?I like to crack jokes whenever I get chance.

Simple workout hack that men can do to stay in shape? When I’m at work every 30 mins or so I like to bust out a set of push-ups, or sit-ups or something. Not really the best workouts in the world but it’s easy to do, and the amount of exercise you end up doing throughout the day is actually a lot.

What fitness and workout tips and trends do you have for looking good when the temperature drops? If you and your training partners are having a good time and laughing it never really feels like a chore. Stay warm and take care of your body. It’s tough to train if you have a cold.

Photo: Dibs McCallum

Obviously, you don’t have to worry about cold like we do here in the East, What’s the best way to stay in shape when the weather gets colder? It may sound pretty weird but I like to drink hot coffee much more often when I get cold because it warms me up. The good thing about that for me was when I was constantly drinking coffee I would not be craving junk food. Plus I get pretty amped up on caffeine so I am constantly trying to move around or exercise…. all day.

Sports question: Who are your favorite teams and clubs?It would have to be the Lakers, Dodgers and Raiders. As for MMA I would say Georges St-Pierre and Connor McGregor.

What advice would you give to guys aspiring to get into fitness and modeling? I would say if you are even considering it just go for it. Don’t have second thoughts. Even if you don’t think you look good enough it will keep you motivated to always progress so you look even better next time.

Photo: William Sparkes/Sparkan Media

What words of motivation that you wish to impart to your fellow brothers. Nothing in fitness comes over night, if it did everyone would look like Arnold. So patience is every bit as important as training everyday. When you learn patience things seem to progress much quicker.

For me it was just pure rage. I worked hard my entire life to be in the best shape I can be and I was trying to make a career out of the military. The surgeon that messed up on all of my surgeries completely destroyed everything I’ve ever worked for my entire life, everything I wanted was taken from me.

So I felt so much anger towards the surgeon who did this to me that during physical therapy or workouts I would almost never reach fatigue till later that day. And I my case I was too impatient that yes I did put on a lot of muscle very quickly but because of that my body still hasn’t finished repairing all of my internal organs.

Special thanks to both Victoria and Nathaniel Hampton for their time and assistance during the Q and A interview process. All images used with permission and are the rightful property of their respective owners.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]

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